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Angel investment is almost always about backing the jockey, not the horse. And this sport is gaining traction traction The Ken The new rules of engagement for India’s angels Read more in India. After successful founders like Sachin Bansal and Kunal Shah displayed their investing chops with several angel rounds, Indian startup founders took a special liking for it. Those raising money saw such backers as kindred spirits.

Now, if renowned angel investors Naval Ravikant and Jeff Fagnan were to have their way, they’d like more founders—irrespective of how much capital they have —to become angel investors and back more jockeys.

Early this year, Ravikant, who runs a global syndicate for angel investors called AngelList, and Fagnan, founder of American early-stage investing firm Accomplice, along with other limited partners invested $45-million in a fund called Galaxy to challenge the early-stage investing model in India.

In the US, the investor duo run a similar programme called Spearhead Spearhead TechCrunch Spearhead launches $100M fourth fund Read more . And over the last four years, 81 founders have deployed ~$120 million in nearly 800 startups, including the social-audio app Clubhouse and community platform for creators Circle.

Utsav Somani, who runs AngelList AngelList The Ken Understanding AngelList Syndicates in India Read more India, is managing Galaxy. In an interview with The Ken, he says that Galaxy’s first cohort of founder-investors includes Mohit Kumar and Vatsal Singhal of health tech startup Ultrahuman, Awais Ahmed of space tech company Pixxel, Sumit Gupta of crypto exchange CoinDCX, and another founder whose name Somani could not disclose.

Galaxy has set these founders up with a $1 million cheque, which they can invest in any seed-stage startup of their choice. This capital sits in an overseas fund created for each of these founders. “If I invested on my own, I would have cut $12,000-15,000 cheques. But now we can invest $100,000 and follow through in companies we like,” says Kumar, co-founder of Ultrahuman, which raised $17.5 million as part of its Series B round in August 2021.

Moreover, he adds, spending time with the likes of Ravikant, whose early investments included ride-hailing company Uber and microblogging platform Twitter, helps him understand their worldview on investing. “In some ways it is like an investing university.”

So far, the five founders have made seven investments in seed-stage startups operating in areas like real estate, artificial intelligence (AI), and software-as-a-service, among others. The average ticket size of these investments is $90,000. At an early stage, angel investors put in anywhere between $10,000 and $2 million, based on the founder’s pedigree.

AUTHOR

Arundhati Ramanathan

Arundhati is interested in how people use money in the digital age and how new economies will take shape based on that interaction. She writes the newsletter Ka-Ching! every Monday. She lives in Bengaluru and has spent over 12 years reporting and writing on various subjects.

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